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Gautam Basu Thakur

Associate Professor,
Director of Critical Theory

Gautam Basu Thakur faculty photo

(208)426-3596 | LA-225

Gautam Basu Thakur is a critical theorist working in the fields of comparative cultural studies; postcoloniality and globalization studies; British Literature of the Empire; race and sexuality studies; and world cinema. More specifically, he is interested in theoretical psychoanalysis and its interventions in postcolonial studies; the British Empire and its afterlife in global/transnational literary and (new) media cultures; film; and comparative cultural politics. He is the author of  Postcolonial Theory and Avatar (2015) and Postcolonial Lack: Identity, Culture, Surplus (2020), and co-editor of Lacan and the Nonhuman (2018) and Reading Lacan’s Seminar VIII: On Transference (2020).

Gautam Basu Thakur is the recipient of The Faculty Excellence Award in the College Arts and Sciences, Boise State University,  Jan 2020.


  • Ph.D., Comparative Literature, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
  • M.Phil., English, Jadavpur University, Calcutta
  • Certificate in Critical Theory, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
  • M.A., English, Jadavpur University
  • B.A. Hons., English, Jadavpur University



  • Postcolonial Lack: Identity, Culture, Surplus [2020].
  • Reading Lacan’s Seminar VIII: Transference, co-edited book (Palgrave, 2020).
  • Postcolonial Theory & Avatar (Bloomsbury 2015).
  • Lacan and the book (Palgrave, 2018).


  • This Elaborate Make Belief of Imperfection: Nonsense, Excess, and Ab-sense in Sukumar Ray’s Abol Tabol,” Jadavpur University Essays and Studies, Special Issue on Lacan and Literature (forthcoming).
  • “Necroecology: Death and Dying on the Limits of the Colony,” Victorian Studies, 58.2 (Winter 2016): 202-212.
  • “Vernacular Objects | Indian Mutiny | Imperial Anxiety,” Victorian Literature and Culture, 44.3 (September 2016): 557-576.
  • “The Menon-Žižek Debate: The Tale of the (Never-marked) (But secretly coded) Universal and the (Always marked) Particular …,” Slavic Review, 72. 4 (Winter 2013): 750-770.

Book Chapters:

  • “Beyond Reason: The Subject of Desire and Enjoyment in Populism” in After Populism, ed. P. Chakravarty, Bloomsbury (forthcoming; coauthor) 
  • “Mind the Gap: Commentary on Session XV” in Reading Lacan’s Seminar VIII: Transference, ed. Gautam Basu Thakur & Jonathan Dickstein, Palgrave 2020; pp.257-266.
  • “Preface” in Reading Lacan’s Seminar VIII: Transference, ed. Gautam Basu Thakur & Jonathan Dickstein, Palgrave 2020; pp. v-vii. (coauthor).
  • “A Strangeness Beyond Reckoning: The Animal as Surplus in Postcolonial Literature” in Postcolonial Animalities, ed. Amit Baishya & Suvadip Sinha, Routledge, September 2019; pp. 29-47.
  • “Chicken Knowledge: Or, What does the Nonhuman Want?” in Lacan and the Nonhuman, eds. Gautam Basu Thakur & Jonathan Dickstein, Palgrave, January 2018; pp. 1-16. (co-author)
  • “Configuring the Other: The Detective and The Real in Satyajit Ray’s Chiriakhana,” in Figurations in Indian Film, eds. Anustup Basu & Meheli Sen (London: Palgrave 2013): 67-88.
  • “Reading Bhabha, Reading Lacan: Preliminary Notes on Colonial Anxiety,” in The Literary Lacan: From Literature to ‘Lituraterre’ and Beyond, ed. Santanu Biswas (London: Seagull U.K. Press 2012): 240-258.
  • “Globalization and the Cultural Imaginary: Constructions of Subjectivity, Freedom, & Enjoyment in Popular Indian Cinema,” in Bollywood and Globalization: Indian Popular Cinema, Nation, and Diaspora, ed. R. Mehta (London: Anthem Press 2010): 75-92.


  • ENGL 588 “Decolonizing Theory, Radicalizing Theory: The Graduate Theory
  • ENGL 530 Graduate Seminar on “Literature & Four Fundamental Concepts of Psychoanalysis”
  • ENGL 595  “Psychoanalysis and Sexuality”
  • ENGL 393 “Theory: To Witness,” Introduction to Literary Criticism & Critical Theory
  • ENGL 393 “Reading Theory with Sherlock Holmes” / Fall 2013 / Summer 2013
  • ENGL 300 “Studies in World Literatures” (cross-listed with Global Studies, Gender, World Languages)
  • ENGL 365 “Victorian Otherness: Philosophy, Science, & Fantasy in 19th Century Literature”
  • GLOBAL STUDIES 200 “Global Cinema”
  • UNIVERSITY FOUNDATIONS 100 “Literary Things”